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Crocs to bite into clothing after snappy global results

Quirky footwear brand Crocs is launching a clothing range and embark- ing on an ambitious retail roll-out after more than tripling its global profits.

The plastic clogs business, which has been hailed a trend hit over the past two seasons, will launch clothing for spring 09.

Crocs managing director for Europe Dick Wijsman told Drapers the range would include a men's lifestyle collection and a children's summer clothing range, including shorts, T-shirts and back-to-school bags. "Fashion is always dangerous and we need to take the risk out of it, but I will make sure it is a good offer," he said.

Price points will be in line with the current Crocs architecture, wholesaling at between £7.50 and £18 and retailing at between £20 and £50.

For autumn 08, the brand will showcase a fashion-led women's range at European trade shows, featuring knee-high boots in leather and plastic mixes with buckles and other detailing.

Crocs recently acquired Californian surfwear brand Ocean Minded. The ethical label will be introduced to the UK market in spring 08.

Crocs chief executive Ron Snyder added that the brand was looking for new acquisition opportunities. "Companies have to have great global potential and unique product. Footwear is a plus," he said.

The brand, which entered the UK market in 2005, plans to open five stores in the UK in the coming months and will unveil 25 stores in Europe. It is scouting locations in key cities, including Manchester, after making its retail debut with an 800 sq ft store in Sheffield in May.

FIGURES FOR 12 WEEKS TO END OF MARCH

Revenue: rose 217% to US$142m (£71.3m), against US$44.8m (£22.5m) for the same time last year

Gross profit: US$84.5m (£42.4m), or 59.5% of revenues, against US$23.7m, (£11.9m) or 52.9%, last year

KEY FACTS

- Sales in the UK account for 21% of total EU sales

- The brand employs 3,500 people worldwide

- It has 25,000 doors globally, with 14,000 in Europe

- Key accounts include Office, Kurt Geiger and tReds

- The label is particularly popular in Iceland - 17% of the country's residents bought a pair of Crocs last year.

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